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Thread: Where should focus be on page load?

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Number of posts in this thread: 9 (In chronological order)

From: Mark Magennis
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 3:29AM
Subject: Where should focus be on page load?
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I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those w=
ho are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where focu=
s should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather than =
a compliance one.

The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened - ei=
ther a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional =
chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This=
helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstanc=
es should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique =
page content.

In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a=
predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distan=
t from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with =
next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is p=
redictable that after submitting the search the user will want to immediate=
ly read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will not be =
the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to place focu=
s at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such as "Show=
ing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows occur withi=
n multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where at each s=
tep the user will always want to go to the start of the step instructions o=
r inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step is loaded.

Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the =
start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?

Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to o=
ccur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.=
For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a conten=
t navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is predict=
able that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it other=
wise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a new r=
ow to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled in. It=
seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them in, so =
should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added row?

Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks,
Mark

Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
www.skillsoft.com<;http://www.skillsoft.com/>;

[Skillsoft / Sumtotal]


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--_004_PH0PR08MB7065F15C3AE2AD7B41C544D1E56D9PH0PR08MB7065namp_--

From: Mark Magennis
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 4:43AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
← Previous message | Next message →

Actually, not just interested to hear from screen reader users but keyboard users in general.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Mark Magennis
Sent: 06 December 2021 10:30
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather than a compliance one.

The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened - either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstances should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique page content.

In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distant from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is predictable that after submitting the search the user will want to immediately read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will not be the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to place focus at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such as "Showing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows occur within multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where at each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step is loaded.

Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?

Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page. For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a content navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a new row to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled in. It seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them in, so should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added row?

Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark

Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
www.skillsoft.com<;http://www.skillsoft.com/>;

[Skillsoft / Sumtotal]

From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 4:58AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
← Previous message | Next message →

If it's a full page reload focus should go to the top of the page (its
expected behavior).
By full page reload I basially mean the whole main content of the page
is refreshed and the title is changed.
If the page has more than 5 focusable elements in the header, it
should ahve a skip link anyway to quickly get the usre back to main
content (the 5 rule is my best practice, not WCAG).

If the reload happened as a result of the user clicking the "back"
button, focus should go to the link used to navigate to that page.

If focus is returning from a modal dialog or tooltip, focus should be
placed back on the element used to trigger its display (unless the
user took action in the dialog that changed the context, e.g. delete
an item or navigate elsewhere).

If the user deleted an item from a table or list, focus should either
go to the top of the table/list or to the element prior to the one
being deleted (or the ome immediately following), no hard rule but it
makes sense, you don't want to interup the user's train of thought and
they might not be done interacting with that content.

If you have an accordion or tab that the user activates, the focus
stays on the trigger used to display content, it does not move.

If you trigger display of content that does not immediately follow the
location of the trigger, the focus should go to the beginning of that
content.

For other issues, use your best judgment or consult with your UX team
and/or usability testing.

On 12/6/21, Mark Magennis < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Actually, not just interested to hear from screen reader users but keyboard
> users in general.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Mark
> Magennis
> Sent: 06 December 2021 10:30
> To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> Subject: [EXTERNAL] [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?
>
> I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those
> who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where
> focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather
> than a compliance one.
>
> The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened -
> either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional
> chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This
> helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstances
> should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique page
> content.
>
> In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a
> predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distant
> from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with
> next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is
> predictable that after submitting the search the user will want to
> immediately read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will
> not be the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to
> place focus at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such
> as "Showing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows
> occur within multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where
> at each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step
> instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step
> is loaded.
>
> Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the
> start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?
>
> Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to
> occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.
> For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a content
> navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is
> predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it
> otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a
> new row to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled
> in. It seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them
> in, so should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added
> row?
>
> Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark
>
> Mark Magennis (he/him)
> Senior Accessibility Specialist
> Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
> www.skillsoft.com<;http://www.skillsoft.com/>;
>
> [Skillsoft / Sumtotal]
>
> > > > >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 5:00AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
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I think this issue is probably less confusing for screen reader users than
most people think. If the focus starts on some kind of form control, I
suspect screen reader users will assume they are not at the top of the page
but somewhere further in it. If it starts on a link, it probably depends on
whether or not the link sounds like it should be something at the top of the
page. For example, if the focus were placed on a skip link or a homepage
link a screen reader user might think they are at the top of the page. Once
a screen reader knows or suspects they are not at the top of the page and if
they want to go there, it is fairly trivial to accomplish that.

I suspect the location of the focus is more important to keyboard users. If
it goes to somewhere on the page they want to be or close to it, you saved
them a lot of tabbing. If it is not close to where they want to go, what
will it take to get them where they want to go?

Thanks,
Tim
Tim Harshbarger

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Mark
Magennis
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2021 4:30 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those
who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where
focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather
than a compliance one.

The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened -
either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional
chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This
helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstances
should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique page
content.

In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a
predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distant
from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with
next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is
predictable that after submitting the search the user will want to
immediately read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will
not be the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to
place focus at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such
as "Showing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows
occur within multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where
at each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step
instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step
is loaded.

Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the
start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?

Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to
occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.
For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a content
navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is
predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it
otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a
new row to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled
in. It seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them
in, so should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added
row?

Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark

Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
www.skillsoft.com<;http://www.skillsoft.com/>;

[Skillsoft / Sumtotal]

From: Mark Magennis
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 5:29AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
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Bikir wrote: If it's a full page reload focus should go to the top of the page (its expected behavior).

Mark replies: So you wouldn't agree that there are any special circumstances where focus should be placed at the start of the unique page content, such as on a search results page?

Mark

From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 6:26AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
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It's a case by case basis, e.g. should focus go directly to "username"
on a login page.
If there is no critical info about logging in before the login field,
it makes sense to place the focus there directly.
Like you said, if this a search results page, maybe put focus on the
search results heading. It ends up being a judgment call. If searching
reveals a whole new page ( you type in a phrase, click a search
button, and a new page loads) I'd rather start at the top and navigate
to "search results".
If the search results are dynamic (they get displayed as you type) or
only the search result component gets updated on the page, maybe put
the focus on the search results heading directly. Keep in mind that
you can only do that if user clicks a button to search, you never know
when they are done typing into the search input and you can't disrupt
them.

I've found that screen readers do not always follow your focus
placement, especially in browse mode, unless you are placing focus on
a focusable element.



On 12/6/21, Mark Magennis < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Bikir wrote: If it's a full page reload focus should go to the top of the
> page (its expected behavior).
>
> Mark replies: So you wouldn't agree that there are any special circumstances
> where focus should be placed at the start of the unique page content, such
> as on a search results page?
>
> Mark
> > > > >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Geethavani.Shamanna
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 6:39AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
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I would like to add another item to this well-compiled list.

When adding items to the shopping cart on a popular supermarket site, on selecting the quantity for an item and clicking the Add button, the page refreshes and focus moves to the top of the page. Here the focus should ideally move to the item following the one that has already been added. If an item is added without altering the quantity, then the focus moves to the next item as expected. On supermarket sites where shoppers are likely to add dozens of items, testing the focus behaviour is very critical.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: 06 December 2021 11:59
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

CAUTION: This mail comes from outside the University. Please consider this before opening attachments, clicking links, or acting on the content.

If it's a full page reload focus should go to the top of the page (its expected behavior).
By full page reload I basially mean the whole main content of the page is refreshed and the title is changed.
If the page has more than 5 focusable elements in the header, it should ahve a skip link anyway to quickly get the usre back to main content (the 5 rule is my best practice, not WCAG).

If the reload happened as a result of the user clicking the "back"
button, focus should go to the link used to navigate to that page.

If focus is returning from a modal dialog or tooltip, focus should be placed back on the element used to trigger its display (unless the user took action in the dialog that changed the context, e.g. delete an item or navigate elsewhere).

If the user deleted an item from a table or list, focus should either go to the top of the table/list or to the element prior to the one being deleted (or the ome immediately following), no hard rule but it makes sense, you don't want to interup the user's train of thought and they might not be done interacting with that content.

If you have an accordion or tab that the user activates, the focus stays on the trigger used to display content, it does not move.

If you trigger display of content that does not immediately follow the location of the trigger, the focus should go to the beginning of that content.

For other issues, use your best judgment or consult with your UX team and/or usability testing.

On 12/6/21, Mark Magennis < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Actually, not just interested to hear from screen reader users but
> keyboard users in general.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of
> Mark Magennis
> Sent: 06 December 2021 10:30
> To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> Subject: [EXTERNAL] [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?
>
> I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or
> those who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences
> about where focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a
> usability issue rather than a compliance one.
>
> The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened
> - either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct
> functional chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top
> of the page. This helps with predictability and consistency. Only in
> exceptional circumstances should focus be moved to somewhere else such
> as the start of the unique page content.
>
> In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged
> in a predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus
> somewhere distant from the content the user will predictably need to
> read or interact with next. An example is a site search that opens a
> search results page. It is predictable that after submitting the
> search the user will want to immediately read the results. It's hard
> to imagine a scenario when this will not be the case. So when the
> search results page open, it is helpful to place focus at the start of
> the results, usually on a results statement such as "Showing 20 of
> 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows occur within
> multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where at
> each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step
> instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step is loaded.
>
> Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at
> the start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?
>
> Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem
> to occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.
> For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a
> content navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it
> is predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have
> opened it otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table
> toolbar causes a new row to be added to the table containing fields
> that need to be filled in. It seems predictable that the user will
> want to immediately fill them in, so should focus always be moved to
> the first field in the newly added row?
>
> Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark
>
> Mark Magennis (he/him)
> Senior Accessibility Specialist
> Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
> www.skillsoft.com<;http://www.skillsoft.com/>;
>
> [Skillsoft / Sumtotal]
>
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Andrews, David B (DEED)
Date: Mon, Dec 06 2021 9:20AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
← Previous message | Next message →

It is not confusing to experienced users, but may be to a newbie. Also, depending on the complexity of the page, and degree of interaction -- if focus is moved a lot, it can be very frustrating!

Dave



-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Tim Harshbarger
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2021 6:00 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

This message may be from an external email source.
Do not select links or open attachments unless verified. Report all suspicious emails to Minnesota IT Services Security Operations Center.

I think this issue is probably less confusing for screen reader users than most people think. If the focus starts on some kind of form control, I suspect screen reader users will assume they are not at the top of the page but somewhere further in it. If it starts on a link, it probably depends on whether or not the link sounds like it should be something at the top of the page. For example, if the focus were placed on a skip link or a homepage link a screen reader user might think they are at the top of the page. Once a screen reader knows or suspects they are not at the top of the page and if they want to go there, it is fairly trivial to accomplish that.

I suspect the location of the focus is more important to keyboard users. If it goes to somewhere on the page they want to be or close to it, you saved them a lot of tabbing. If it is not close to where they want to go, what will it take to get them where they want to go?

Thanks,
Tim
Tim Harshbarger

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Mark Magennis
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2021 4:30 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather than a compliance one.

The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened - either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstances should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique page content.

In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distant from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is predictable that after submitting the search the user will want to immediately read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will not be the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to place focus at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such as "Showing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows occur within multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where at each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step is loaded.

Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?

Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.
For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a content navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a new row to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled in. It seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them in, so should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added row?

Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark

Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skillsoft.com%2F&amp;data%7C01%7Cdavid.b.andrews%40state.mn.us%7C25215bcca33549ab92e308d9b8affb9e%7Ceb14b04624c445198f26b89c2159828c%7C0%7C0%7C637743888252139175%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&amp;sdata=BYfRB51qRRwmZROZXPGjLDiZORWxDalbCxaJ8f1vOp4%3D&amp;reserved=0<https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skillsoft.com%2F&amp;data%7C01%7Cdavid.b.andrews%40state.mn.us%7C25215bcca33549ab92e308d9b8affb9e%7Ceb14b04624c445198f26b89c2159828c%7C0%7C0%7C637743888252139175%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&amp;sdata=BYfRB51qRRwmZROZXPGjLDiZORWxDalbCxaJ8f1vOp4%3D&amp;reserved=0>

[Skillsoft / Sumtotal]

From: Benjamin.Hofer@telekom.de
Date: Tue, Dec 07 2021 12:54AM
Subject: Re: Where should focus be on page load?
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I think it sepends a lot if we talk about single-page applications with little or no page reloads or web applications (backend frameworks) with "real" page reloads.
For a single page app, I have to rely on focus placement as a screenreader user. That's very crucial because otherwise no changes/action is visible for a screenreader user. In fact, those apps tend to be very accessible and convenient to use if things like focus placement were tought. If accessibility is not built in, these are the most frustrating ones...
When it comes to "traditional" web pages with "real" page reloads, focus is not so important. In my view, it's convenient to place it somewhere important on a page (e.g. where the content starts / first heading etc.9, but that depends a lot on the page content itself..

-----Urspr√ɬľngliche Nachricht-----
Von: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > Im Auftrag von Andrews, David B (DEED)
Gesendet: Montag, 6. Dezember 2021 17:21
An: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Betreff: Re: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

It is not confusing to experienced users, but may be to a newbie. Also, depending on the complexity of the page, and degree of interaction -- if focus is moved a lot, it can be very frustrating!

Dave



-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Tim Harshbarger
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2021 6:00 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

This message may be from an external email source.
Do not select links or open attachments unless verified. Report all suspicious emails to Minnesota IT Services Security Operations Center.


I think this issue is probably less confusing for screen reader users than most people think. If the focus starts on some kind of form control, I suspect screen reader users will assume they are not at the top of the page but somewhere further in it. If it starts on a link, it probably depends on whether or not the link sounds like it should be something at the top of the page. For example, if the focus were placed on a skip link or a homepage link a screen reader user might think they are at the top of the page. Once a screen reader knows or suspects they are not at the top of the page and if they want to go there, it is fairly trivial to accomplish that.

I suspect the location of the focus is more important to keyboard users. If it goes to somewhere on the page they want to be or close to it, you saved them a lot of tabbing. If it is not close to where they want to go, what will it take to get them where they want to go?

Thanks,
Tim
Tim Harshbarger

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > On Behalf Of Mark Magennis
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2021 4:30 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: [WebAIM] Where should focus be on page load?

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of screen reader users or those who are very familiar with screen reader users' experiences about where focus should be when a page loads. I see this as a usability issue rather than a compliance one.

The way I've always looked at this is that when a new 'page' is opened - either a new URL or, in a single page application, a new distinct functional chunk (vague I know), focus should normally go to the top of the page. This helps with predictability and consistency. Only in exceptional circumstances should focus be moved to somewhere else such as the start of the unique page content.

In my thinking, exceptional circumstances are when the user is engaged in a predictable workflow, where the current step leaves focus somewhere distant from the content the user will predictably need to read or interact with next. An example is a site search that opens a search results page. It is predictable that after submitting the search the user will want to immediately read the results. It's hard to imagine a scenario when this will not be the case. So when the search results page open, it is helpful to place focus at the start of the results, usually on a results statement such as "Showing 20 of 1,483 results for xxxxx". Other predictable workflows occur within multi-step processes such as purchasing or ticket booking where at each step the user will always want to go to the start of the step instructions or inputs. So it is helpful to place them there when the step is loaded.

Am I looking at this the right way, or is it helpful to place focus at the start of the unique content more often, even on most pages perhaps?

Aside from page loads, content changes with predictable workflows seem to occur whenever hidden content is revealed or new content is added to a page.
For example, if a 'Show Table of Contents' button is used to open a content navigation panel should focus be moved to the panel because it is predictable that the user will want to use it (why would they have opened it otherwise)? Or when an 'Add New Record' button in a table toolbar causes a new row to be added to the table containing fields that need to be filled in. It seems predictable that the user will want to immediately fill them in, so should focus always be moved to the first field in the newly added row?

Would be very interested to hear users' preferences. Thanks, Mark

Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skillsoft.com%2F&amp;data%7C01%7Cdavid.b.andrews%40state.mn.us%7C25215bcca33549ab92e308d9b8affb9e%7Ceb14b04624c445198f26b89c2159828c%7C0%7C0%7C637743888252139175%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&amp;sdata=BYfRB51qRRwmZROZXPGjLDiZORWxDalbCxaJ8f1vOp4%3D&amp;reserved=0<https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skillsoft.com%2F&amp;data%7C01%7Cdavid.b.andrews%40state.mn.us%7C25215bcca33549ab92e308d9b8affb9e%7Ceb14b04624c445198f26b89c2159828c%7C0%7C0%7C637743888252139175%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&amp;sdata=BYfRB51qRRwmZROZXPGjLDiZORWxDalbCxaJ8f1vOp4%3D&amp;reserved=0>

[Skillsoft / Sumtotal]